Simply getting accepted into the program in the first place is not easy—by design.
The acceptance process must assure any book that gets an imprint’s backing is of the highest quality—and nothing less—then it must assure that it has a market, and finally acknowledges that the book actually sells once in the market. First, the publisher must be able to identify not only superior quality writing, if even in the rough, but discover if the author can and will commit to making the book the best it can be. Next, since selling more books is the ultimate goal, the process needs to determine if there is a market for the high-quality book, and that the writer will work in partnership with the imprint to sell it. Finally, the book must prove itself: it needs to actually sell.
The first two parts of the acceptance process happen before a book sees print and started with the author signaling iUniverse that he or she is writing a book with the intention of selling it: When authors request help publishing a book, they fill out an intake questionnaire. The questionnaire asks about the author’s reasons for publishing, as well as the writer’s expectations. If the author indicates that the book is intended for sale in the market with the goal of competing against offerings from Traditional Publishers, he or she gets more questions about the book itself, such as genera, and the author gets probed more deeply as well, about his or her intent, will and capabilities. It’s a very simple vetting to get books started on the correct path at the start and sort out books that might have potential for the program.
Once that questionnaire gets completed, things get more serious: Money becomes involved. Based on what can be gleaned of a writer’s intent for publishing a book, and the kind of book to be published, different sets of plans are offered. Because I intended A Perfect Blindness to compete in the market against traditionally published titles, I got a call, and we talked much further about my specific goals, and then a bit about the different publishing plans iUniverse offers to get the book started toward these goals.
After the call, my contact at iUniverse sent over a selection of three packages that fit what we discussed.